Defensive end Connor Barwin has been consistently rising up draft boards as he worked out at the Senior Bowl and the Combine. Projected widely as a high second-round draft pick, the buzz on the former tight end is that he's now worked his way into the first-round after an outstanding Pro Day showing.
Barwin ran a 4.47-second 40-time at his Pro Day according to the University of Cincinnati's timer, but some onlookers clocked him at 4.43 to 4.45 seconds. That kind of speed from a 6-foot-4, 256-pound player got the attention of the roughly 40 NFL spectators who had come to the school to watch Barwin and his Bearcats teammates work out. Barwin had previously posted a 4.66 time at the Combine, second-best in his position group, so few NFL talent evaluators had expected him to run again.
Among the most notable attendees were Jets head coach Rex Ryan and Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. But in an odd twist, Giants tight ends coach Mike Pope and Jacksonville assistant head coach and tight ends coach, Mike Tice, were also in Cincinnati to get a first-hand look at how Barwin would perform.
Previously, it was believed that all of the NFL clubs interested in Barwin would put him on their roster as an outside linebacker or a defensive end. But as he's held private workouts for teams, and based on feedback from coaches yesterday, at least five teams are still evaluating him as a tight end due to his size, speed and athleticism.
During position drills, NFL coaches and scouts were treated to spectacle that is a true rarity. Barwin went through position drills as a defensive end, a linebacker, an offensive lineman to put his blocking skills on display, and as a tight end to show his pass catching skills. While some of the players were winded after their one set of position drills, Barwin confidently worked his way through four sets of position drills.
Although he's already been quite busy with private workouts and visits, he's likely to be in even higher demand after his yet another impressive post-season workout. Barwin worked out for the Patriots on March 10, the Seahawks on the 13th, the Dolphins on the 16th, and the Broncos on the 17th. He also plans to work out at the Bengals' workout for local players on April 14th.
Barwin's already had an official visit with the Buffalo Bills in March, but he has four visits planned for April already. He'll kick off his road trips with the Kansas City Chiefs on April 1st and 2nd, then he's off to Tennessee to meet with the Titans on the 5th and 6th. Then it's off to Jacksonville for a visit on the 12th and 13th followed by the Rams on the 15th and 16th.
The Atlanta Falcons and the Chiefs have also expressed interest in setting up a private workout, but a date hasn't been firmed-up as of yet.
Scout.com will continue to track Barwin's progress up through draft weekend, so be sure to check back frequently for updates and special features on this unique individual and player.
Read more about Connor Barwin through the links on his Scout.com profile page.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter for NFL updates and insights. And you can contact him by email through this link.